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Midfield Counterattack Control

How does a midfielder control a counterattack in hockey?

The ability to control the counterattack comes from your teams attacking structure. When attacking in and around the circle, it's important to have a midfielder sitting slightly deeper on the 25 to be able to break down a counterattack if there is a turnover.

The midfielder should aim to slow the attack down by initially forcing the ball wide, away from the line to goal and then aim to hold the ball carrier up to allow for teammates to recover and get back into shape to help defend.

Take a look at this drill to recognise how to keep the attacker wide and away from the centre of the field.

Chasing the Tackle - Matching Their Speed + Forcing Attacker Away From Goal

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Objective: To establish the principle that matching your opponents speed places the tackler in a position to control an opponent and to not let them beat them to attack on the inside.

Purpose: By staying level will the attacker and putting sufficient pressure on the ball carrier will prevent them from being able to beat the defender on the inside. Instead it will force them to continue on the outside, running into trouble and hopefully giving the ball away.

Strcuture: Pairs. 

Condition: Forward has a ball and moves in a straight line, defender tries to match their speed, putting pressure on with dummy tackles.


Coaching Points:

Match opponents speed. 

  • Focus on matching the attackers speed, keeping your body level with your opponents, whilse watching the ball.
  • Repeat the exercsie with right shoulder leading (eg Left half, showing right winger the line)

Channel away from Goal

  • Retain arm+ stick distance at all times.
  • Anticipate a chnage of direction rather than reacting to it. 
  • Utilise dummy tackle to force the opponent to lose control or away from goal. 
  • Through presence, force the player wide, not allowing them to get their head up and drag the ball back and inside to beat the defender.

Dummy Tackle 

  • Often called the jab, its keeps the your presence noticed, forcing the attacker to keep their head down, focussing on the ball rather than looking for a pass or an attempt to beat the defender. 

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  • search our library of 1000+ hockey drills
  • create your own professional coaching plans
  • or access our tried and tested plans